Canberra's first Jewish day-care opened this week, a first step in creating the "Jewish infrastructure" needed to attract more Jewish families to the region while servicing the 1200-strong local community.
The Gan Yisroel community and childcare centre was funded by Melbourne-based Jewish philanthropists and is led by Rabbi Shmueli Feldman, the only rabbi in Canberra and the surrounding region.
"There's a lot of local support by Jewish families but they just simply don't have the means to be able to build things on this scale," Rabbi Feldman said.
"A preschool [is] a key step in attracting young families from around Australia who wouldn't dream of coming to Canberra because of the lack of Jewish infrastructure.
"This now enables families with young children to come and know that they'll be in a Jewish environment; we're serving kosher food, giving a Jewish education."
But Rabbi Feldman said it was as much about offering the cultural experience as it was religious education.
"There are a lot of Israelis living in Canberra as well and they very much like to have the community feeling … most of these people in Israel would never step foot into a religious organisation or a synagogue because they're very secular," he said.
"But because we're offering them a chance to be part of the heritage … they take key roles in the community here."
The centre does run religious education classes for adults, as well as an after-school care program, with the next step to develop a Jewish school for the day-care kids.
Among those children will be those of Rabbi Feldman and his Melbourne-born, Israel-raised wife Chasia. The couple made the move from Sydney to Canberra a year ago with a two-year-old daughter and pregnant with triplets.
While the pregnancy was very high risk, when the opportunity to move cities to build a Jewish community almost from scratch arrived, they knew it was the "shlichut", or life calling, they had been waiting for.
"We felt that by going to do it we would get increased blessings from above, and that's what happened; the three were born perfectly healthy - two boys and a girl."
The triplets are now 10 months old - still too young for the day-care, but daughter Chaya Mushka was at the centre's first day of operation on Wednesday.
The childcare centre has space for 55 children and so far has received 10 applications, although with Canberra's long waiting lists, there have been expressions of interest under the door.
Rabbi Feldman said they are not in the business of excluding people, but all children will be educated in the Jewish tradition, including learning Hebrew blessings before they eat, pray and take naps, and eating kosher food.
"We're steadfast about it; it is the only one in Canberra, so we want to keep it strict to the Jewish tradition," he said.